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Contest APAS-ASI of Best Sommelier of the Americas

Élyse Lambert wins first edition
Contest Argentine
Elyse Lambert

wins first edition of APAS–ASI Contest of Best Sommelier
of the Americas Argentina 2009

A young Canadian won the first ever contest of Best Sommelier of the Americas, held in Buenos Aires and organized by the Argentine Sommelier Association (AAS) with the assistance of the Pan-American Sommelier Alliance (APAS) and the International Sommelier Association (ASI).

The competition took place on May 31st and June 1st at the luxurious Hotel Panamericano in Buenos Aires, and was attended by more than 500 specialists from the trade, including sommeliers, journalists, winery owners, restaurant owners, etc. from over 12 countries.

Élyse Lambert, a young sommelier from the restaurant Le Local in Montreal, who had previously won the Quebec’s Best Sommelier title in 2004 and came 3rd in Canada’s Best Sommelier contest in 2006, was the winner. “I am so happy,” she stated. “It is such a great relief after so many days of stress… It was my first time in Argentina and I loved it. It might sound clichéd but the combination of Malbec, beef, tango, the Andes Cordillera and the kindness of the people here made this trip a fabulous adventure.”Her next goal is the ASI World’s Best Sommelier Competition which will take place in Santiago de Chile in April 2010.

Another Canadian, Véronique Rivest, Quebec’s Best Sommelier in 2006, Canada’s Best Sommelier and semi-finalist of the World contest in 2007, was the runner up, with Guilherme Corrêa, Brazil’s Best Sommelier in 2006 and 2009 in third position.

The competition brought together an impressive list of top sommeliers from each of the member countries of the Pan-American Sommelier Alliance, as well as professionals invited from the United-States and Peru. Also participating were Agustina de Alba and Marcelo Rebolé for Argentina, Tiago Locatelli for Brazil, Ricardo Grellet and Héctor Riquelme from Chile, Juan Carlos Flores Mazón and Marcos Flores Tlalpan for Mexico, Juan Pablo Figueroa Crisólogo and Víctor Kompanichenko for Peru,Fernando Beteta MS for theU.S.A., and Malvy Medina Castillo and Marilis Susana Sánchez Orro for Venezuela. The candidates were required to demonstrate theoretical and practical abilities in areas ranging from service, tasting, winemaking, gastronomy, wine geography and general culture, as well as the production and consumption of the most diverse beverages and other products from around the world.


From now on, the contest will take place once every three years under the patronage of APAS, and intends to promote sommellerie, wine, tourism, and gastronomy in the region. This first edition was organized by the dynamic Argentine Sommelier Association with the strong support of Wines of Argentina, the institution that promotes Argentinean wine worldwide. It was also sponsored by the National Institute for Promotion of Tourism (INPROTUR), the ExportAr Foundation, various companies from the sector and over 30 local wineries.

The jury was formed of celebrities such as Michèle Chantôme, from ASI’s Technical Commission as well as Danio Braga, President of APAS and Vice-president of ASI for the American Continent, and they expressed their satisfaction with regards to the very high degree of professionalism shown by most of the candidates. They also noted the speed with which this profession is growing in the Americas. For Gerard Basset, MS, MW, Best Sommelier of Europe 1996, Vice World Champion and guest judge of this contest, "It is crucial for producers that their wines are served by well trained and enthusiastic professionals and in the best condition. This kind of competition is very important in encouraging sommeliers to develop their expertise as well as bringing recognition to the profession.”

“To develop a contest like this one in the Americas is very important, as it gives candidates from our countries additional competition experience, which helps them in their preparation for the Best Sommelier of the World championship, improving the overall performance of our region in the international competitions,” said Andrés Rosberg, President of the Argentine Sommelier Association. He adds “It also allows all the other professionals in our countries to gain exposure to world class sommeliers and state of the art competition, as well as establishing relationships and exchanging experiences, helping to develop our métier in this region.”

About APAS

The Pan-American Sommelier Alliance (APAS) was founded in Lolol, Chile, in 2007, by the representatives of the national sommelier associations of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela. Its main objectives are to improve the academic and professional levels of sommeliers in the region, to organize regular competitions at a regional level, to coordinate regional integration strategies, and to develop sommellerie throughout the Americas. Peru was also accepted as an official member in 2009.

About the AAS
The Argentine Sommelier Association represents the professional sommeliers of Argentina, and its objective is to promote the culture of wine and other beverages and to develop Argentine sommellerie in Argentina and abroad. It was founded in 2001, has been a member of the International Sommellerie Association (ASI) since 2002, and a co-founder of the Pan- American Sommelier Alliance (APAS) since 2007.